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The Importance of Study Skills Study, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is the “devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject, especially by means of books; a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation.” Merriam-Webster defines study as an “application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge”. My personal definition is a combination of both. To study is to devote time and energy/attention to gain an understanding and knowledge of a subject. Study skills, therefore, are the set of strategies that are used to adequately acquire and gain knowledge about a chosen topic or subject. When we possess these skills or strategies, we are able to increase the efficiency of learning. We are also able to increase the likelihood that what we are to be learning is retained in our long term memory for future use. Which brings us to the definition of learning. Learning is a lifelong skill, that when successful and... read more

This post is inspired by an article I read, “Be Less Helpful” by Joshua Zucker (can be found at this link: http://www.mathteacherscircle.org/assets/legacy/newsletter/MTCircularAutumn2012.pdf) and I am here to relate it to my teaching and tutoring experiences. When working with students, it can be easy to watch struggling students and thoughtlessly just give them the answers. Why do we do this? Well, for a variety of reasons. Maybe we empathize with the struggling student and want to alleviate their pain. Perhaps we are impatient and have already solved the problem mentally several times over. Maybe we think the question is asking too much of the students. Perhaps we’re worried that they are taking too much time and should move on to the next problem. Maybe they have made three incorrect guesses and we feel it’s time to just give it to them. Perhaps we are really enthusiastic about teaching and are overly anxious to show them how to do it. (Remember, depending on the subject... read more

I am pretty OCD about how I do things as a tutor. This includes being prepared. This also has got me thinking about what it means to be prepared as a tutor. I believe it involves two things. Those are being prepared physically by having the tools you need, and also knowing what you will cover in each lesson.   I started the concept of a tutoring bag about a year ago. I LOVE IT. It has all sorts of goodies in it from dry erase boards to pencils to graphing paper. I even have things that are outside of the box available just incase I need them. For example, I have simple dollar store games in my bag which often help my students who suffer from attention deficit problems. I never know what I am going to need but it allows me to be unconventional with my tutoring which has been a big asset. Also realistically, as much as we want our students to come prepared, SOMEONE is going to forget something!   I also lesson plan before my lessons. I commended tutors who can... read more

1) You can have fun and be silly, but still increase focus on the subject   When I taught piano lessons to a 5-year-old girl, I would start off by asking her to find the weirdest, funniest sound that she could find on the keyboard, and then ask her to play the song she had practiced for that week in that sound! She always would laugh and make faces, but it made the repetition of practicing the same song over and over less monotonous and more fun! This would start our lessons off on a great note, and they would be more of a game or exploration of music than just a class.   2) Take a snack break     After about 30-45 minutes of studying the same subject, it can get tiring and hard to focus. Our brains need a break! Stopping 30 minutes into a tutoring session to have a quick snack or drink can really help to give your mind the rest it needs to be able to refocus and start refreshed after the break!   3) Talk about your worries... read more

I have a wonderful student and the parents are fantastic.   They are very patient with me and understanding, which I appreciate. However the progress of the student is evolving. Certain disabilities have been uncovered that the parents didn't really know she had. This causing me to re-evaluate my teaching on a weekly basis.    This poses an interesting question. What do you do when you hit a block in the road?   I think the most important thing you can do is to communicate with the parents of said child. Often times, we think of tutors and parents as different entities. We don't do that at school though. That's why there are conferences. Parents and teachers work together to give the child the best educational support possible. So why would tutoring be any different?   I constantly work with the parents of my student. When the student is tested, they have a meeting with me. When there are things going on with the school, they... read more

Based upon the academic performances of many math and chemistry clients over the years and leading right up to the present, the following factors have been vital for my students to have substantially bolstered their achievement levels by the end of their particular courses of study: 1) Both the tutor and the students approached every session with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. 2) Students were prepared at each session with adequate resources and a clear sense of what they wanted to accomplish. 3) The tutor was also prepared with backup resources (alternate textbooks, notes, appropriate visuals). 4) The tutor would model difficult concepts in writing through accurately-constructed, correctly-sequenced steps. 5) Students would be provided ample opportunities from their resources for guided practice on key concepts. 6) Students would attempt additional problems between session meetings and report any unclear ideas at the next session. 7) Parents, other... read more

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